top of page

Most common question students ask about IB Business

As the school year comes to an end for me and many other centers across the world, I was thinking about the most common questions I get throughout the year about IB Business. Many of these questions come when students are choosing which classes they want to take in the coming year, but I get many of these questions when the course first starts up again.


So, I decided to list them here and how I respond to help students out, but also see how other teachers respond as well. Do you agree with what I say? What do you tell your students?

IB common questions



1.     Why should I take IB Business?


Ok, I’m probably biased, but I think IB Business is one of the most useful courses no matter what you want to study in the future. Every job from doctor to artist can learn about budgeting, how to market yourself, understanding how companies try to motivate their employees. This knowledge can help students chose the right company to work for in the future or manage their personal finances better.


2.     Can I take or should I take IB Business and Economics at the same time?


This is really school and schedule dependent. At my school, yes, it is possible. There are many skills in Business that apply to Economics and vice versa. For example, student in Economics learn about price elasticity of demand and that can then apply that for a pricing strategy in IB Business. In Business students study STEEPLE analysis which looks at external factors and how that affects a business. This can help when studying Economics as well.


3.     What is the difference between IB Business high level (HL) and standard level (SL)?


In general high level students study the course more in-depth and have an extra paper to show their knowledge. Some of the topics that are HL only are organizational culture, industrial actions, sales forecasting, international marketing, lean production, crisis management and more. The internal assessments are now the same, but there is a now new Paper 3. You can see how to answer the 17 mark question here. That’s the hardest question for most students.


4.     Do I have to be good at math to do well in IB Business?


Yes and no. There are a lot of calculations that are required in IB Business. The new syllabus has more focus on calculations in Paper 2 Section A. Previously, students got to choose which calculation question they wanted to do, but high level has three required calculation case studies and standard level has two required calculation case studies. This can be hard for some students.


However, the calculations DO NOT require advanced math. It can all be done with a simple 4 function calculator. Make sure you/your students get a lot of practice with this to feel confident on exam day.


5.     Do students do well in IB Business?


Each year the IB publishes a statistical bulletin to show what percentage of students get each grade for 2023, this is what students received in both high level (HL) and standard level (SL)


% of students for each mark








High Level








Standard level









The average worldwide school for both HL and SL is 4.95 with just over 30,000 students sitting the exam.


6.     What is the extended essay (EE) like in IB Business?


Like extended essays in all other subjects, this is an academic piece of work that requires using academic journals about the topic the student is studying with support from media articles from reputable places. Students should not use pre-made analysis like a SWOT or STEEPLE made for the company they are studying.


There is no time limit for the Business extended essay, but if the event or concept happened too long ago, it will likely be more descriptive than analytical getting lower marks. I believe it is a great subject to do the extended essay in and students enjoy the process. If you want to learn more about the extended essay in Business. Check out the resource below.



7.     Is IB Business hard?


Again, I might be biased, but I don’t think IB Business is that hard. Students have references to many topics taught in the course through being a consumer and interacting with many of the companies studied. Also many can come up with answers based on this knowledge.


What I think makes IB Business hard is getting all of that knowledge written down in the time allowed on the exam. Most of the exams allow for 2 minutes per mark and showing depth with that small amount of time is hard and many students struggle to finish.

Next week, I'll be posting more common questions that I get as a teacher.

3 views0 comments


bottom of page